House lawmakers are giving up Amazon one last chance to show his innocence. According to a recent report, the company is using vendor data to copy popular third-party products and manipulate market search results.
Is Amazon Really Copying Third-Party Product Data?
In Monday’s letter to Amazon’s CEO, Andy Jassy, lawmakers urged the company to provide “exculpatory evidence” to corroborate congressional testimony that is directly in conflict with the recent report regarding the use of third party vendor data.
According to a series of reports from Reuters and The Markup, it appears that Amazon used data from independent sellers to copy popular products and manipulate search results by favoring their private label articles.
“At best, this report confirms that Amazon representatives misled the Committee,” wrote a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the House Judiciary Commission. “At worst, it shows that they may have lied to Congress.”
I third party vendors have accused Amazon of this behavior for years. The alleged discriminatory behavior of the company was part of an antitrust investigation by the House, which lasted years, on society and other lawmakers last year.
In a statement to The Verge, an Amazon spokesperson said the company “did not cheat the commission.” The spokesperson he reiterated the company’s internal policy prohibiting employees from using vendor data to make private label products.
“We investigate any allegations that this policy may have been violated and take appropriate action,” the spokesman said. “We also design our search experience to showcase items that customers will want to buy, regardless of whether they are offered by Amazon or one of our sales partners.”
Lawmakers gave Amazon until November 1 per provide further evidence to support these claims.
Other company statements
Amazon sent further statements that specifically address every report from the past week. As for the story of The Markup, Amazon pointed out that its brand ads they are “clearly labeled to distinguish them from search results”.
The Amazon spokesperson also went on to say that “private label products are a common retail practice and are good for customers.”
Last week, a group led by Senator Amy Klobuchar presented a new law.
According to reports, the law would prevent companies like Amazon, Apple and Google from use their dominant position to disadvantage competitors. The measure, The American Choice and Innovation Online Act, was passed by the House Judicial Committee last week.
In response to the bill, an Amazon spokesperson said the measure would “compromise” the company’s ability to manage a market for third party vendors that lawmakers claim the company hurts in search results.
At the moment the law has collected the support bipartisan of Republicans like Senators Cynthia Lummis, Josh Hawley and Lindsey Graham.
The company has not yet commented nor did he report whether he plans to release new evidence to the commission before the end of the month. In the letter, House lawmakers encouraged the company “to correct the record.” In the meantime they are considering whether to report the alleged false testimony to the Department of Justice “for a criminal investigation”.